Bella Patina opens its doors to anyone shopping for vintage and antique pieces during First Friday Weekends in Kansas City. During the first weekend of each month, West Bottoms is crowded with shoppers hunting for their next antique deal. Bella Patina is one of many businesses open during that weekend.
Detours: What is Bella Patina’s motto that you run your business on?
Bella Patina: Vintage revival. A place where people can get excited and reinvigorated about things that are old.
Detours: Have most of the pieces in the store been restored?
BP: For the most part, yes. Pieces are found in state sales, old and abandoned. It’s a good range of inventory where some things have been preserved well and other things are built from the ground up using repurposed materials. We try to keep it within those bounds — true antiques.
Detours: How many vendors do you have selling in your shop?
BP: 70 – 75 is the range right now.
Detours: Do the vendors find their pieces all over the country?
BP: Yes, that’s why we’re only open on the First Friday weekend. Our vendors have to be able to go out and find products. They’re expanding their radius to search for things. Some of our vendors do shows across the country. We also have a number of vendors that don’t even live in the Kansas City area.
Detours: What type of customer do you attract?
BP: Because we try to have a variety of things in a variety of price ranges, we see a lot of grandmothers, moms and daughters — all three generations shopping together. You’ll find the 20-something city hipster shopping next to the suburban stay-at-home mom, both finding things in the store that match their style.
Detours: You run the store as a family, right?
BP: There are seven of us — all the Allen family. We birthed the business around a family dinner table. We had come down here a few times before the store had opened, and we thought, “We can do this.” Since we started, four years this April, we are the longest standing store in the same location. We have expanded from 5,000 square feet to 25,000. We couldn’t have envisioned it to be this great.
Detours: What has been the best part of this adventure?
BP: It was something that was always in the back of my mind that I would love to do and it has made me more whole. Bella gave me a confidence I was missing. Getting to spend time as a family, we’ve gotten even closer working side by side. It is such a gamble to start a business, so we are very grateful and humbled by the response people have towards our store.
Detours: Have you had many trial and errors during the last four years?
BP: Early in our expansion process there were some growing pains — it put stress on our family and the business itself. It was a lot more work than we expected and a lot more money than we expected. But we always seem to bounce right back from those moments. There hasn’t been anything major, and we’re continuously moving forward and adding something new, different, better.
Detours: Anything else you would like to share with Detours readers?
BP: If you’re the type of person that is even semi-interested in vintage and antiques, this is the place to come. The West Bottoms is an incredible place by itself, over 100 years old and the original Kansas City. This is history on top of history. It is an environment worth experiencing with the music and the food trucks and seeing thousands of people come through the store in one weekend — there’s just so much happening.